Bishop Ingham's Statement on the Royal Commission - 2 April 2013
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ
As you are aware, in November last year Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a Royal Commission to inquire into child sexual abuse and the responses of institutions, including churches and government and not-for-profit organisations.
In my Message to the People of the Diocese of Wollongong following the announcement of the Royal Commission I stated that, with the Bishops of Australia, I welcome the Royal Commission. The protection of children is of prime importance, not the protection of any organisation. Victims and their families must receive respect, justice and compassion.
I now wish to inform you that as Bishop of Wollongong I have been asked to provide to the Royal Commission documentation relevant to the Inquiry. I am complying fully with this request and am grateful to the staff of my own Office and of the Catholic Education Office and CatholicCare for their ready assistance with this.
As I have done previously, I strongly urge any person with a complaint of mistreatment or abuse to come forward to the appropriate authority. If the complaint is of a criminal nature, I ask you to notify the police. If you need assistance with this, or if the matter is not of a criminal nature, I invite and encourage you to telephone the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing Helpline on 1300 369 977 or to contact my office on 02 4253 0900 and ask to speak to Sr Moya Hanlen who works closely with me in these matters.
I renew my heartfelt apology to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic Church personnel. I also apologise to their families and all who have shared their suffering. I am conscious that the pain of those who have suffered abuse and of their families will be heightened as the Royal Commission moves into this next phase.
I affirm again the commitment of the Diocese to work with the Royal Commission and I invite all people of the Diocese to join me in prayer that our combined efforts may lead to the greater protection of children and justice and some degree of healing for victims of sexual abuse.
Bishop Peter W Ingham DD
Bishop of Wollongong
2 April 2013